Porthleven counts the costs – so far – of the storm

Wednesday 5th of February 2014 will long be remembered by the people of Porthleven, but not for positive reasons.

The Baulks which separate the inner and outter harbours of Porthleven and have long protected the inner harbour from the power of the sea, succumbed to the sheer power of the sea to wreak havoc on the once protected boats. Tragically there was only going to be one winner.

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In total seven boats were sunk, with the remaining boats at peril from the sea. These boats had to be removed or they would have suffered the fate of being swamped by the waves.

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The community rallied and those boats are now removed and scattered around the harbour in any space which could accommodate at boat. However, the danger is still there as without the Baulks the inner harbour, harbour head and main road are at risk from the seas and swell that will now be unchecked.

It was not just the boats which bore the brunt of the seas, but parts of the harbour wall succumbed to the power of the waves.

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Porthleven’s ice cream parlour now has its windows boarded up and the iconic Bickford-Smith Institute or as many will know as the clock tower had its seaward side windows smashed in by the waves. The old lifeboat house has also been damaged.

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The full extent of the storm damage cannot be assessed as the seas are still churning and the wind howling at levels rarely seen in Porthleven. The worry is with a large depression heading its way to Cornwall’s coast on Friday or Saturday more damage to the infrastructure is likely.

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Even the great storm of ’89 was not as prolonged as the weather we have and about to face in the next few days.

It is also hard to believe that in the 21st Century, Cornwall could be cut off from mainline rail due to the tracks along Dawlish being taken out by the storm.

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Being briefed by the Comms team and Silver Control at Cornwall Council highlighted the damage and flooding many other parts of Cornwall were being subjected to.

The Leader of Cornwall Council has called on the Government for help in dealing with the costs of the damage. The Council is currently looking at a £10 million bill; yet this is set to rise with figures of £15 million being discussed.

The question is how much more can our coastal settlements take before there is a more serious breech and life is at risk?

This following picture are of Porthleven today.

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2 comments

  • Rachel Andrews

    The radar picture of the storm blowing in is terrifying, the one I saw was black in the middle of the depression, normally red or purple for a major storm, but black? Keep safe people and stay indoors when the storm is raging and the tide is high. I have had to cancel multiple trips on the trains today and tomorrow.

    At least we are seeing less deaths from storm watchers this time around, long may it continue.

  • Kate

    So sad to see the destruction in your beautiful community and our thoughts are with everyone affected. We’ve been visiting Porthleven for over 30 years and just cannot believe the scale of the waves this winter, or the damage caused – having been flooded ourselves we have some understanding of the upheaval and heartache, and truly hope that the further storms forecast this weekend don’t exacerbate the situation too much more.

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